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Pyotr Ilyich TCHAIKOVSKY (1840-1893)
Violin Concerto Op.35 [34:28]
Souvenir d’un lieu cher [16:43]
Valse-Scherzo Op.34 (transc. Bezekirskj) [5.56]
Franz Joseph HAYDN (1732-1809)
Symphony No. 47 in G Major [18:08]
Christian Joseph Saccon (violin); Sara Costa (piano)
Orchestra di Padova e del Veneto/Maffeo Scarpis
Includes DVD of the same violin performances but not the Haydn; Video 16:9 HD, Audio Stereo PCM 48kHz/24bit, Region 0
WIDE CLASIQUE WCL 127 [76:20 + DVD 76:20]

Experience Classicsonline

This is a two disc set - CD and DVD. It features the charismatic Italian violinist Christian Joseph Saccon, about whom I’ve written before. Here he takes on Tchaikovsky. The camera set-up is quite simple, and doesn’t pretend to be ultra-professional. The angle, one camera only, is from the stalls and in towards the stage. Imagine you’re in the front of the balcony or the middle of the stalls - that’s the kind of shot you will be looking at, though there’s only so much one can do with one camera. The orchestra is the chamber-sized Orchestra di Padova e del Veneto. Saccon, one again looking a little like the Belgian hero Ysaÿe, has his long hair plastered romantically.
He plays with gutsy, rather Old School immediacy and technically eloquent address. He’s not a showy performer and though he goes on the occasional mini-perambulation when he gets excited, he’s not one for knee-bend calisthenics or head-shaking. He’s at his very best in the bel canto episodes of the slow movement, to which he responds with considerable warmth. It’s not an inwardly introspective approach, but it is communicative and heightened by myriad little expressive devices. He takes a sound tempo in the finale, not too motoric, but takes care to deal justly with the folkloric episodes - ones that faster performances tend to skate over. There is sometimes insufficient weight from the orchestra; one has to adjust to the relative balance - and because this is a chamber-sized band one needs to judge the performance accordingly. The band certainly admires the performance with considerable foot-stamping from them all-round, always a good sign and clearly not put-on.
For the smaller pieces with pianist Sara Costa we have sympathetically warm performances, poetic in the Meditation, athletic in the Scherzo and dashing in the Valse-Scherzo.
For the CD we have these pieces in the same performances, but with clearer and more focused sound, but also a neatly phrased, appropriately sized Haydn Symphony No. 47 in G Major where Maffeo Scarpis conducts with directness and a good ear for balance. This isn’t on the DVD.
In the circumstances, a recommendation is most appropriately made to admirers of Saccon.
Jonathan Woolf
Masterwork Index: Tchaikovsky Violin Concerto ~~ Haydn Symphony 47







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